THE TITLE OF this documentary refers to the widely held belief among scientists that the Earth has exited the Holocene Epoch
and entered the Anthropocene--a geological age in which humanity is the primary force acting on the planet's environment.
According to Meilan Solly of the Smithsonian, the earth is "currently situated in the Phanerozoic Eon, Cenozoic Era, Quaternary Period, Holocene Epoch
and Meghalayan Age."
The current age in which we live is called the Holocene Epoch
, which reflects everything that has happened over the past 11,700 years -- since a dramatic warming kicked us out of the last ice age, the BBC reported.
The scientists are calling the age of the stalagmite growing over the pelvis, which they put at about 11,300 years old, plus or minus a few hundred years, the "minimum age for the skeleton." That would place the remains right at the beginning of the Holocene epoch
, which is the current geological era.
If eventually approved by the International Commission on Stratigraphy--the gatekeepers of geologic time--and the Executive Committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences, the Anthropocene would cut short the Holocene Epoch
, which has reigned since the end of the last glacial period around 11,700 years ago.
The climate in the Holocene epoch
(the past 10,000 years) has been relatively stable.
As Earth transitioned from the ice age to the current interglacial period (called the Holocene Epoch
), temperatures in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere did not warm gradually, but rather flip-flopped from warm back to cold before settling into the stable warm conditions of the past 10,000 years.
Until recently, everybody agreed that we live in the Holocene epoch
of the Quaternary period, which in turn is part of the 65-million-year old Cenozoic era, the most recent phase of the 540-million-year Phanerozoic aeon.
AS THE HUMAN IMPACT on Earth "cut to the very bone" of deep time, as some have claimed, effectively ending the Holocene Epoch
and ushering in what should be called the Anthropocene?